Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/552

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enter. The pursuers scattered, only the father of the deceased remaining in the yard. When they had all gone away, he went into the room where the murderer of his son was sitting by the mother, with a part of her mantle thrown over his knee.

"Go out of the room," she called to him; "I have given him my oath!"

The old man, without speaking, set his gun in the corner, kissed his son's cold forehead, and went out to make preparations for the funeral. At sunset, while the people of the village were busied with the affairs of their inner households, and even Arso's relatives were engaged each in his own particular duties, the old lady took her charge by the hand and led him out upon the mountain. As soon as she had seen him at a safe distance she told him: "Now my oath is fulfilled; you must look out for yourself after this!"

The obligation of the bessá had terminated; now followed the pursuit of vengeance. The more industriously the family of the murdered man sought for retribution, the more earnestly the friends of the murderer exerted themselves to obtain pardon. This state of affairs continued through two months.

At last the whole circle of the murderer's relatives met and decided to ask the father of the murdered man to remit the blood-penalty to the murderer. For this they all rose—the women taking their infants from the cradle and carrying them along—and went in a body to Arso's father. In front of the company marched the murderer, his head veiled with a linen cloth, and the gun with which he had committed the murder hanging from his neck, muzzle down. Behind him walked two of his particular friends, and after them the rest of the family procession. As they came near the house of the avenger, they all cried out as with one voice, "Aman ! aman !" ( pardon ); and continued the petition till noon. The father of the murdered man, without seeming to notice them, consulted with the members of his family whether he should, according to the customary law of the country, shoot the murderer at once or give him pardon. It was decided to pardon him. The father advanced toward the expectant company. The murderer knelt, ready to accept life or death, while the rest of the procession renewed their petition for pardon. The old gentleman took the murderer's gun and discharged it into the air; then lifted the cloth from his head and kissed him, in token of pardon. Then he kissed the other male members of the family procession, took the murderer by the hand, led him into the house, and set him in the son's place. The affair was concluded by a three days' feast in the avenger's house.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from Das Ausland.